Ecolang

Recently I wrote about the primal roots of language, this actually came from a line of thought about creating an “ecolang” (or ecological language). I have several ideas like doing something onomatopoeic i.e. the words resemble what they represent (such as “cuckoo” in English represents the bird’s sound).

Another is a tense based on the seasons; it gets a bit complicated, but there are four tenses, one for each traditional season; whatever happens to be the present season is the present tense. At present it is spring (just), and so that is the present tense. Winter is past, and summer is future (not strictly for describing the previous and next seasons), whereas autumn represents a combined distant-past/far-future tense (representing a sort of circular nature of time). The tense changes for each season.

Verbs can be marked for their arguments to show interrelatedness between things. “I love you”: I and you are the arguments, and the verb can be mark for first and second person (in Spanish verbs are marked for the subject of a verb phrase – in this case it is “I” – we only need to extend the idea to other arguments, like direct objects).

The idea I’ve been thinking of is that the language shows interdependence in its grammar, and also a correspondence with the environment it finds itself in, rather than being abstract ideas. But going back to the first line, the important part of an “ecolang” is not how “ecological” its grammar, phonology, etc. are but how connected to the body’s expression it is. The body is our “ecological anchor” in the world, something  fancy “ecological” grammar might not take into account.

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